Athersys’ MultiStem® Cell Therapy Provides Benefit in Neonatal Stroke Patients

In an article published in the Journal of Neuroinflammation (2015 12(1):241), Dr. Reint Jellema, in collaboration with scientists from Maastricht University, Maastricht University Medical Center and Máxima Medical Center Veldhoven in the Netherlands, and Athersys scientists described the results of experiments designed to evaluate the potential for Multipotent Adult Progenitor Cells (MAPCs) to stroke patients.

In the series of experiments described in this publication, Jellema and others examined pre-term sheep that suffered strokes while still in the womb. Such injuries in human babies are one of the main causes of cerebral palsy. In the case of these pre-term sheep, the intravenous administration of MAPCs reduced both the number and duration of seizures compared to placebo-treated animals.

Seizures commonly follow strokes in new born babies and these strokes usually cause several detrimental neurodevelopmental outcomes. MAPC treatment significantly reduced inflammation in the injured brain. The implanted cells reduced activation and proliferation of immune cells in the brain. In general the immune response after the onset of the stroke was tamped down.

This paper provides further evidence that multipotent adult progenitor cells (MAPCs) have can provide benefit following strokes. Such injuries are caused by oxygen deprivation to the brain before or during birth and are a leading cause of cerebral palsy.

“This study in a large animal model of pre-term hypoxic-ischemic injury further demonstrates the potential for MultiStem therapy to provide benefit to patients suffering from an acute neurological injury,” said Dr. Robert Mays, Vice President and Head of Neuroscience Research at Athersys. “These results are consistent with those from previous studies testing our cells in rodent models of hypoxic ischemia and ischemic stroke, and confirm our previous findings supporting the biological mechanisms through which MAPC treatment provides benefit following acute neurological injury. The results strengthen the biologic rationale for our ongoing clinical and preclinical research in ischemic stroke and hypoxic-ischemic injury, as well as traumatic brain and spinal cord injury.”

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Professor of Biochemistry at Spring Arbor University (SAU) in Spring Arbor, MI. Have been at SAU since 1999. Author of The Stem Cell Epistles. Before that I was a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA (1997-1999), and Sussex University, Falmer, UK (1994-1997). I studied Cell and Developmental Biology at UC Irvine (PhD 1994), and Microbiology at UC Davis (MA 1986, BS 1984).